Showing posts with label leadership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leadership. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Nature of Values and Authority-Beyond Metrics

Authority is accompanied  with power, and this can be an irresistible aphrodisiac. It is so intoxicating that people continually seek to gain higher levels of authority through wealth, social position, and power accumulation. Positions of power should come with responsibility, and those who do not have the right kind of values should not be entrusted to direct others. People in power positions set the standards for others and can have an enormous impact on acceptable behaviors among their charges.

A study focusing on disengagement theory found that managers who pushed others to engage in misreporting had a direct impact on the moral performance of their subordinates (Mayhew & Murphy, 2014). Supervisor requests were met with willing subordinates who misreported more, rationalized their unethical behavior and didn't feel that bad about it.

Immoral bosses changed the perspective of their subordinates to the point where they no longer could have any remorse. As unethical behavior becomes embedded into the organizational culture, it creates expectations. For those who “play by the rules,” it can seem like an unfair disadvantage.

Performance metrics becomes to define the individual. Companies that do not concern themselves with how these metrics were achieved will find themselves engage in more immoral activities. Whether the metric is associated with sales or production, the result should include an expectation of ethical behavior in its achievement.

All organizations, whether public or private, should seek to recruit and develop authority figures with moral sentiments. When tough decisions need to be made it is those with an internal moral compass who can make the right choices while those who are self-seeking and need external gratification will be more likely to support unethical behavior. The values of the authority figure will soon spread to their subordinates and create a new way competing.

Mayhew, B. & Murphy, P. (2014). The impact of authority on reporting behavior, rationalization and affect. Contemporary Accounting Research, 31 (2).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Emergent Transformational Leadership-Battlefield to Business

Leadership is such a critical aspect of team success that without it they will ultimately fail. Companies spend millions a year selecting, grooming and developing leaders. Organizations that seek to transform their operations should keep an eye out for transformational leadership that can adjust and change to new environments. Whether one is seeking a business executive or the next military officer understanding emergent transformational leadership as it works in live situations is beneficial for recruitment.

Groups, regardless of type, will eventually form a command structure. It is one of the most natural occurrences in both civilized and uncivilized society. The kind of leadership, poor or high, will determine the values of the group and how well it performs under pressure. Whether discussing business or the military, ensuring the right type of leaders makes their way forward helps in developing high functioning teams.

Research into military teams highlights how transformational grassroots military leadership emerges from within the ranks when times are tough. Traits of emergent transformational leadership includes: visionary, leads by example, empowering others, sincerity of purpose, moral value system, genuine car for others, compassion, self-sacrificing, and self-efficacy (Bangari & Singh, 2014).

The confident but compassionate leader runs contrary to cultural fallacies that believe effective leadership is a domination game only. Transformational leaders create followers where power oriented leaders rely too heavily on formal position or fear that limits loyalty. Having the “golden touch” with others will still being driven toward goals seems to make a significant difference in outcomes.

Selecting and fostering leadership in business and military occupations is important because they can inspire followers to raise their performance to accomplish objectives above and beyond themselves. Ensuring that the people with the right characteristics are brought forward and develop a sense of responsibility for others helps in solidifying social bonds and promotes loyalty.

Bangari, R. & Sngh, V. (2014). Establishing a framework of transformational grassroots military leadership: lessons from high-intensity, high-risk operational environments. The Journal for Decision Makers, 39 (3).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Recruiting Business Executives the Military Way!

The military has always fascinated me in terms of how they train leaders to make their way through challenging situations where most of us would not be able to follow. Both business and military leaders share similarities that can provide us with a better understanding of the skills needed to influence people. Marrying the two approaches creates a better executive selection process that can pay companies dividends when these leaders mature.

We must first accept that leadership is not for everyone and those who are sometimes seen as leaders are not always the best candidates. For example, self-interested personalities sometimes rise to the top but their level of leadership wanes when they seek supporters who will need to sacrifice. In my experience, the more demanding and pushy a person is, the less likely they will be able to manage large groups.

On the other hand, a follower could have innate leadership skills that come to the forefront only under certain circumstances. Seeing beyond the obvious by selecting those with leadership traits and abilities can create returns on executive development. Without humility, leaders won’t know when they are wrong, consider the needs of their followers, or think beyond themselves.

According to a study comparing leadership, it found that the military selected candidates based on traits while businesses focused on skills (Hussain and Hussan, 2015). Before moving people into intensive training programs, the military desired persons who had the innate traits to use as a platform for development. In contrast, the business world sought people who displayed high skill levels.

The same study found that successful leaders are separated from mediocre leaders by their relationship abilities. Those that have the capacity to develop working relationships with others, and rely on those relationships to achieve goals, are more successful than those than those who are only task oriented. Even though the study doesn’t mention this, it is entirely possible that task orientation has limited impact on the environment without the help of others.

Leaders set challenging goals, rally people behind those objectives, and can change their styles based on what others need. Adaptability is trait oriented but enhanced through growth in skills, knowledge and abilities. Bridging the gap between military and civilian leadership development relies on finding those with the right innate traits and helping them gain the knowledge needed to be effective.

Hussain, M. & Hassan, H. (2015). Military leadership and implication for business leaders in light of alternative theories. Pakistan Journal of Science, 67 (1).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Emotional Intelligence's Influence on Military and Company Management

Emotional intelligence is as important in the business world as it is in the military battlefield. When times get tough, it is emotional intelligence that keeps the team moving forward to accomplish goals. Executives and officers who show empathy and self-reflection have higher levels of emotional intelligence that can garner support when times are tough. Whether you are at war on the battlefield or the boardroom emotional intelligence can make all the difference.

Emotional intelligence is that which stops us from making quick and irrational judgments without engaging our more rational processes. A surge of feeling can lead to outbursts of anger, berating employees, or a poor decision that impacts the rest of the department/company. Those with emotional intelligence can gain influence through their ability to deal effectively with others.

Emotional intelligence can be dividing into four core competencies that include (Goleman, Byatzis & McKee, 2013):
-Knowing one’s emotions
-Managing emotions
-Recognizing emotions in others
-handling relationships

One must first understand themselves to understand others. Once this understand sets it the ability to understand and influence others becomes apparent. In the military, command and control structures create authority but not the highest levels of performance. Excelling beyond the call of the duty requires leaders with high emotional intelligence that can push people to the upper reaches of effort.

In the military emotional intelligence can influence subordinates in a positive way (Abrahams, 2007). Such leaders can move beyond structure to create inspiring relationships that draw subordinates to help solve problems. The leader can command a level of respect through his/her even keel personality and appropriate reaction to events.

Emotional intelligence is important in both the business and military world where strict organizational structure limits the amount of personal connections that can occur. Information is transferred through these personal connections and those with higher emotional intelligence can maintain their relationships and develop higher levels of performance among their employees by understanding their needs and motivations.

Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee. (2013). Primal leadership, with a new preface by authors: unleashing the power of emotional intelligence. Paper back. 

Abrahams, D. (2007). Emotional intelligence and army leadership: give it to me straight! Military Review, 87 (2).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Leadership and Moral Reasoning Set the Standards for Others

Moral reasoning is as important today as it was in the past. It could be argued that with the growth in society and the increase in the size of structures that moral reasoning is even more important today. Business and civic leaders that have obtained and support moral reasoning are at a higher level of development than others. It is these highly developed people that should be leading organizations to new levels of performance. A paper in the Journal Business Ethics: A European Review helps highlights how moral reasoning impacts intra-firm networks and the values others maintain (Kulkari & Sobodh, 2014).

Human development and moral reasoning move together hand-in-hand. People who are less developed have a harder time thinking beyond what is of benefit to themselves. The authors have used 6 stages or moral reasoning where the stages 1-4 are primarily concerned with fear, self-interest, and following the rules for personal gain. Only in stages 5 and 6 can one claim moral leadership that thinks beyond oneself and into the greater purpose of action.

Law helps us define what societal expectations are and provide guidelines for citizens to follow. Organizations are bound to follow these laws in employment practices, pollution, operations, etc.. to ensure that their practices do not damage society.  Most business leaders follow these rules based upon self-interest and the fear of punishment. This is necessary to keep everyone in good order and society moving forward.

Beyond self-interest are higher stages of development where moral-reasoning includes doing the right thing in difficult situations. Moral leaders have freed themselves from the constraints of fear to a place where they seek to exceed the standards of law. They understand a greater purpose of keeping society free from unfair actions and immoral decisions that infringe on others.

For example, at the lower levels of human development a CEO may put in place the minimum legal requirements to curb pollution while seeking to skirt as many rules as possible. In the mid levels of development the same CEO may wish to follow the rules strictly and proclaim their business is "Green" as a marketing tool. A highly developed CEO would seek to ensure their business is not damaging the environment based upon moral values while not ignoring the benefits that come from being a good corporate citizen.

Position doesn't necessarily determine morality of the person. A person could be in a position of authority and still stuck at lower levels of development. For example, a CEO may create predatory practices and justify that position as a benefit to stakeholders, a DA could raise their arrest numbers but violate more rights in an effort to "clean up" a city, or a politician could take a bribe and vote on a new project saying it is the best interest of everyone.  Authority and moral development are not tightly associated and often contradict each other.

The journal article highlights the importance of ensuring that those with solid moral reasoning rise to the top of the societal structure. Moral reasoning of the leader impacts the moral value systems of everyone else.  Their behavior and decisions prompt others to act in similar manners creating intra-firm transfers of moral expectations. Those expectations become embedded into the culture of the company (or organization) and become a method of approaching future problems.

Moral reasoning is one part of the assessment of leadership qualities. Those with higher levels of moral reasoning are also more developed as people. They create expectations on those around them who are likely to mirror their behavior and perception. Encouraging high quality people with leadership potential to make their way to the top of organizations helps to ensure that the right expectations of moral reasoning and ethical performance are standardized.

Kulkari, S. & Subodh, R. (2014). Intra-firm transfer of best practices in moral reasoning: a conceptual framework. Business Ethics: A European Review, 23 (1).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reflection on Military and Civilian Leadership

Leadership in civilian and military organizations caries some of the very same characteristics. Even though each organization may emphasis different aspects of leadership the same traits that were successful in one arena, such as the military or civilian world, may transfer across sectors. A comparative analysis in the Journal of Military & Strategic studies offer some perspectives on leadership manifestation in multiple arenas (Horn, 2014). 

The leadership styles in the military and the civilian world may not be so different even though the definitions may change. Each has their own way of looking at leadership due to the needs of their environment. The actions that make one successful in one organization may also make the same person successful in another.

Consider how a logistic's officer in the military may require certain levels of knowledge and skill in order to reach leadership status. The same idea would apply in civilian distribution centers that rely on similar processes and technologies. The leader learns to be adaptive to these adjustments and reach success over new environments.

Even though the same skills apply between various organizations it does take time for new leaders to understand the unique cultures and definitions of leadership in each organization. When learned skills begin to apply and make improvements the overall process of leadership may be mirrored. The basic skills of leadership do not dissipate when moving from organization to organization.

Leaders have basic abilities that can apply across multiple organizational types and industry sectors. A military leader may be able to apply these basic leadership traits across various military departments in the same way that a successful executive in one company may repeat that success in another organization. The personality and learned knowledge simply doesn't disappear when moving from one company to the next.

The comparative analysis helps us to understand that each organization may have their own impression of leadership and emphasis certain leadership traits and behaviors. Developed leaders can transfer knowledge and skill across one area to the next. This may be one reason why it is beneficial for the civilian sector to consider the merits of hiring military leaders and why the military may consider civilian leaders. After a learning curve there is a higher likelihood of success. 

Horn, Colonel B. (2014). A reflection on leadership: a comparative analysis of military and civilian approaches. Journal of Military & Strategic Studies, 15 (3). 

Academic Journal

By: Horn, Colonel Bernd. Journal of Military & Strategic Studies. 2014, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p229-249. 21p. Abstract: The article provides a comparative analysis of the military and civilian approaches onleadership. The author suggests that leadership is not a one size fits all activity and depends on the personality and approach of the leader and respective situation and circumstance. Also examined are the strengths of military and civilian leaders and as well as their common weaknesses. (AN: 96718054), Database: International Security & Counter Terrorism Reference Center

Friday, February 13, 2015

Traits of Leadership over a Lifetime

Life has it stages and leadership skills move through those stages with the person. As people change and grow there will be different emphasis on leadership skills as challenges are mastered and new knowledge presented. Despite the changes of life there are some similarities across the stages that run the course throughout a lifetime (Nelson, Schroeder & Welpman, 2014). 

In the beginning of a leader’s life rudimentary skills form in the home and create a foundation for leadership. As life continues this framework is used as a place where new knowledge is learned, incorporated, and then utilized to achieve goals. The process of learning, challenging and developing continues throughout a person’s career. 

Leaders are unique creatures when compared to many other people. They are always seeking to develop and grow regardless of the circumstances they are in. Even though the stages of their life change they seem to hold consistent characteristics that continue to push them to higher levels of effectiveness. These traits are as follows: 

Learners: All leaders are learners. Leaders “consciously following a recursive cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting, they can increase their learning power” (Kolb & Kolb, 2009, p. 297).  They are people learn from reading and life experience to tone their skills to effective leadership strategies. The process of learning and developing never stops.

Encouraging: Leaders encourage others because it not only moves to higher performance but also encourages stronger interpersonal relationships. Positive demeanor and attitude lead to higher forms of subordinate motivation and performance.

Interpersonal Relationships: Leaders are effective at interrelating with others and building stronger social networks. The development of leadership helps in finding a way for people to connect with and build relationships. Leaders are generally social people who enjoy interacting with other people. They are capable of empathy and caring relationships.

Innovative: Leaders are innovative and think of new ways of doing things. This helps them develop strategies that actually come to new and unique results. They are not the type of people who follow the same path over and over and hope for a new result.

Self-Awareness: Leaders grow in their self-awareness that comes through their experience with themselves in different situations. As they gain knowledge and experience they grow and create higher levels of emotional intelligence.

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2009). The Learning Way: Meta-Cognitive Aspects of Experiential Learning.  Simulation & Gaming, 40(3), 297-327.

Nelson, E., Schroeder, M. & Welpman, L. (2014). Does career maturity impact leadership behavior? Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 11 (3).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Benefits of Social and Emotional Intelligence in MultiCultural Organizations

Today’s workforce is more global than it was in the past and has multiple generations working under the same roof. According to a paper in the International Journal of Information Business & Management the diverse nature of the work environment we find that social and emotional intelligence is important for the overall ability to deal with and relate to people of different backgrounds (Njorge & Yazdanifard, 2014). Organizations rely on the skills of future managers to create highly functional and highly diversified workforces that can meet tomorrow’s challenges. 

Having emotional and social intelligence is beneficial for executives and managers that must effectively work with and motivate employees from different backgrounds. Through their ability to act and interact with various cultures they can help people stay focused on organizational objectives and command a higher level of multicultural leadership. The management of global firms requires executives and managers with stronger global capabilities. 

It is beneficial to discuss the definitions of emotional and social intelligence.  Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, control, and expresses emotions while creating empathetic relationships with other people. Social intelligence is the ability to negotiate and navigate complex social environments and create meaning out of these networks.

The ability to relate to other people is a very valuable skill that people often use to further their influence. Bridging two cultures to create networks and influence are extremely difficult as each side has their own way of viewing the world. The more in tune we are with our own emotions we are able to understand others and use social networks to connect to a wider group of people.

Emotional and social intelligence are soft skills that are learned over a long time. You can teach the components to communication, impression, critical thinking, etc... but you can't easily teach someone to tune into the nature of other people. As a soft skill developed over a lifetime it is important for organizations to consider hiring people to meet these in firms where inter-generational and inter-cultural reside. Those executives and managers who have already developed these skills can use these skills to create alignment toward organizational objectives by understanding the different cultural lenses at play within the workplace.

Njorge, C. & Yazdanifard, R. (2014). The impact of social and emotional intelligence on employee motivation in a multigenerational workplace. International Journal of Information, Business & Management, 6 (4).